Welcome to News from Nowhere for the first day of March. I have to say, I am happy we are now into March. You just feel like the worst of winter is behind us and that better weather is not far away.
Anyway, this is a short rundown of the news headlines, most of which are politics-related.
As you know I was watching closely the CPAC 2015 conference in the USA, which I tuned in simply because I’m bored silly by the lack of good TV on the tube these days. They did their big straw poll and voted Rand Paul the winner, with Scott Walker second. But that means nothing, because every year they seem to vote for some also-ran who ultimately doesn’t get nominated.
That is the USA. In Russia, the main opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot and killed. I guess that is how they do things in Russia, they kill people.
Other countries are in actual election mode right now. The Israelis go to the polls on March 17 and it is shaping up as a close race there, much to the chagrin of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Also, the British are due to go to the polls soon as well, this May, and it looks like so tight a race there that we could end up with a Parliament in total chaos, with no winner.
Here in frozen Canada, there are some leadership races going on. The most sensational race is in Manitoba, as Premier Greg Selinger faces challengers Steve Ashton and Theresa Oswald in the NDP leadership contest that wraps up with the vote next Sunday. This is the race, of course, prompted by that caucus revolt against Selinger. Right now it looks like a close three-way race, which is bad news for Selinger because I could see the other two campaigns combining against him in the end.
Then there is the Ontario PC leadership contest between Christine Elliott, Patrick Brown and Monte McNaughton.
Until this week a lot of people thought Elliott had it in the bag, with a big lead in fundraising and with Lisa MacLeod and Vic Fedeli having quit the race to endorse her. But yesterday was the PC membership filing deadline and it was Brown, federal Conservative MP for Barrie, who ended way ahead having reportedly signed up 40,000 new members compared to 13,000 for Elliott. Helping Brown’s cause was an endorsement this week by none other than Wayne Gretzky, of all people.
This is obviously good news for Brown, but it should be noted that Brown still needs for these people he’s signed up to actually show up on voting day and vote for him. From my experience, I’ve seen first-hand how leadership campaigns can sign up a huge chunk of members (ie “instant Tories”), only to see these folks either not show up or vote for someone else.
Anyway, I think it would be wise for the news media people to refrain from declaring anyone a “front runner.” You don’t really know for sure with this kind of format in which party members, not delegates, vote for a leader. Like I said, it depends on who actually shows up to vote. The convention is May 9 at the Toronto Congress Centre.
Finally, after they were stabbed in the back by former leader Danielle Smith when she and other MLAs crossed the floor to the PCs late last year, what’s left of the opposition Wildrose party in Alberta is having their leadership vote, which has been moved up to this month in anticipation of a provincial election there. Believe it or not, some people are actually interested in the job.
That is all for now. Expect quite a few more politics posts from me in the near future, with all this stepped-up political activity going on.
I am using up my scheduled day off by tuning in the news. It figures! I am currently watching live coverage of the American CPAC 2015 conference in National Harbor MD — that’s short for “Conservative Political Action Conference” — where all the star conservatives show up and give speeches and stuff.
I am mainly watching the coverage over on Bloomberg Politics, but I notice C-SPAN has coverage as well.
All the big shot celebrity political people are there — I notice Donald Trump was there speaking. Right now, I am listening to some guy at the podium — Wayne LaPierre of the NRA — and he’s trashing the media and trashing Brian Williams, and saying you can’t believe them, and now he’s talking about the Second Amendment right to bear arms. You get the picture.
Later in the day Jeb Bush is meant to show up to speak and there is supposed to be a big walkout by a bunch of Tea Partiers. This just illustrates the kind of problems Bush is going to face with his campaign.
Peggy Noonan wrote up a piece for the Wall Street Journal entitled Sorry, Jeb, The Race is Wide Open. She’s of the opinion Jeb is making a poor impression. I think the main problem is the same one that ultimately caused a lot of problems during primary season for Mitt Romney — the Republican base is just too crazy, filled with people who want to wage culture wars and seal the borders and the like. Jeb just doesn’t strike me as that sort of guy — he’s trying to be calm and sensible, but that style of politics may be a tough sell with some of these hardliners.
Anyway, I am just babbling on. I notice Jeb is now speaking in a Q and A session with Sean Hannity, so I am going to watch that. Looks like much of the audience is going to actually stay in the hall to listen to him. I should get around to finally doing that post up soon about the state of the presidential race in the GOP, but this is my day off, and so I am just going to spend it being a political junkie.